“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” — Harry S. Truman
This is one of my husband’s favorite quotes. After years hearing my husband use it, it’s become one of mine. Thinking back, I remember coming home from school and crying to my mother about how some more popular kid got credit for the drama club fundraiser I had suggested during our brainstorming session. She would soothe me with very wise suggestions such as, “make your goal helping others succeed. It is then that you will receive credit for all you have done.”
Funny thing is, the more you focus on helping others succeed, the less you feel a need to receive credit for having had a hand in that. And, fascinatingly, that’s when you find your success. At least that’s been my experience.
The more I encounter amazingly talented people who work behind the scenes — especially agents, managers, publicists who work tirelessly to build their clients careers, only to be rewarded with a, “thanks; I’m moving up a tier and going on to one of the bigs,” sometimes — the more I see this philosophy in action.
The cool part is: Most folks are so High Self-Esteem/Low Ego about it all that it’s okay!
Sure, casting directors would love an Oscar for best casting. But most of us populate films with amazing actors because we love the jigsaw puzzle. We enjoy the right brain/left brain balance of our job. We find satisfaction in helping storytellers get their stories told through people the filmmakers wouldn’t have known existed without our input.
Agents and managers — if actors truly understood how much work they put in, hustling and pitching and negotiating best deals on the actors’ behalf — would probably get far more credit for all they do. Many times, those who rep actors are thanked by stars who stand up behind a microphone, holding something gold and shiny, but those are usually the actors’ current agents. What about that first agent each of these folks had? The person who took a chance on an actor with few credits, no SAG card, and a car that broke down so often that sometimes auditions just got missed?
I spoke with a writer friend recently and congratulated him on some good news associated with a script he wrote. “Oh,” he said. “I hadn’t heard. I’m just the writer, you know.” Funny, but sad. I mean, his words in this script are a large part of what allowed this project to reach a stage at which there are kudos coming down on the director and producers.
But people who truly love their job rarely do it for the credit.
And they work all the time, they are inspired by what they do, they love the people they get to work with, and when there’s a tip of the hat in their direction, they’re thrilled. But that’s not why they do it.
Because doing anything in this town for the credit is a recipe for bitterness. (Note: I didn’t say “for credit,” I said “for the credit.” You know there are plenty of times to work for credit, early in your career.) Do it because you love it. Do it because it inspires you. Do it because it helps you get someone else closer to their goal. They’ll remember. And if they don’t, that’s okay, because you loved doing it anyway.
And together, we get heaps more accomplished, simply because we all love what we do. Bonus!
Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001216.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.